Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
January 7th, 2010
08:01 AM ET

Be Your Own Boss in 2010

The economy may stink now, but this could be the perfect time to start your own business. Our Josh Levs went to an economics conventions and had the opportunity to get advice from economists. One expert told Josh if you do it right, on your own, you will be a leader of the future economy.
Here's a guide from on how to start your own business

Filed under: Clips from CNN Newsroom • Josh Levs • Tony Harris
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Meredith

    Be my own boss.

    Not such a bad solution If and only If Banks were giving out small business loans to for people to start the own business.

    Why is it that your solutions only work for big business and successful current businesses?

    Try thinking of a solution for those of us with no financial backing with no chance in Hell.

    January 7, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  2. Alfred

    How about take ACTION on your own ? Most people without money are waiting for Santa government.....a long waiting line

    January 7, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  3. Wale Falodun

    Being your own boss is a great idea for 2010. You don't need a loan to be your own boss. There are ways to be an entrepeneur such as venture capitalism. You can find a family member or friend that has the resources and believes in your objective. Be Blessed.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  4. Barbara Cluff

    I think we are getting carried away hindsighting what happened with the failed bombing on Christmas day. Certainly we should look to see where we failed so we can correct gaps, but the finger pointing and the "we should have seen" or " we should have connected these dots" is going too far. After all, after Pearl Harbor studies have shown that we should have known what was coming. Give people who are trying to do their jobs a break.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  5. Gus, Chetek, Wi.

    I too am caught in the eco downturn. I am thinking along the lines of "Service" orientated business. There are still a majority of people that are working and CAN afford the little luxuries some others cannot. Key into those needs .

    January 7, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  6. John Schulte

    If you pick the right things to do, you don't need a lot of money to start a small business at home and make money. Service related businesses are the easiest to start and cheapest to promote. Selling products on ebay and craigslist is also pretty easy. You just need to learn about buying and sourcing product. I would recommend checking out the National Mail Order Association, they have good info on the subject.

    January 7, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  7. Mighty Casey

    I speak to job-seeker groups frequently, and since the economy started to teeter I've been winding up with what I call my Bolshevik Close: don't think J-O-B, think B-I-Z, particularly if you're mid-career.

    If the idea of going out on your own scares you, find some partners that you can form a consortium with, i.e. an IT project management expert could team up with a software developer and a marketing maven to form a new consulting practice aimed at streamlining IT services/projects. Key would be to determine what market sectors in your area need those services, and then network your way into the presence of your prospects.

    January 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  8. Oirish

    Wow – you make it sound soo simple. Have an idea, form a company, sell your product and everything is OK, that's basically what your saying, correct??
    While it seems oh so easy,. perhaps you'd like to indulge the rest of the country, and put your expertise where your On Air money is, so to speak.
    A challenge to YOU and CNN in general – follow your own steps, to set up a new business and sell your products or service (if you need an idea to use, I have plenty! – simply ask and I'll supply my idea for you to utilise), using the exact same resources that the majority of the out of work populace has to help them – none. Nada. Not one penny. Not one connection with affluent people. Not one mention on TV of your exact product or service, simply that your doing it. Not a peep on line as to exactly what your doing, simply do it as an average person would have to. Using free resources, and – here's the hard part! – living off the proceeds. Yup, pay a basic rent ($450 single person per month), basic transport (bus/marta pass), Internet connection (NetZero dial up at $9.95 per month), living expenses – food, water, power, gas etc. ($150 single person per month estimate).
    If your up for the challenge, please do let the world know –
    IF you think it's achievable from your own directions and 'tips', why not show us all just how easy or hard it is?? Showing success stories after the fact is one thing, showing how its done for those who have no experience or resources to help them, well – if you do it, you WILL stand head and shoulders above the rest of the so-called experts on air and online.
    Looking forward to your on air reply, hmmm?? 12:04 EST 1/7/2010

    January 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  9. Rasheed

    Service related industries are effective ways to break into the world of free enterprise. The sometime difficult part with services is building leverage.

    Often over-looked is the power of the network marketing industry. Yes, you will need some resources to get started with, but when in comparison to franchises and other brick & mortar business, the invest is attainable.

    Really it comes down to the individuals mindset. Are they going to grow into the person they need to be to capitalize on this opportunity, or are they going to focus on all the possible roadblocks??

    January 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Mike

    I am part of a group of postal employees who this year are focusing on starting a business, to prepare for early retirement and pass it down to our children. Your info really helps, we have all the surrounding support information, just don't have the idea of what the business will be, but it will be something that our children can run long after us, its just finding what it will be?

    January 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  11. egichomo

    What are the examples of businesses to start especially in an African country like Kenya?

    January 8, 2010 at 3:59 am |
  12. Alfred

    Please e-mail to me or Google Alfred Luckerbauer

    January 8, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  13. dave in des moines

    I think I have a concept that will create jobs, increase workers and students productivity, and should reduce errors by people.
    How do I present the concept to business? How do I find funding if this concept is doable? Do you have any suggestions?

    January 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  14. John Halderman

    This piece adds validation to what many have been saying. There is a trend towards more self-employment. We are seeing the corporate system faultering, which is not to say it will go away, but may not play quite the same role that is has for the last 50 years.

    We seem to be edging back to what has been mankinds mainstay, self-employment. We have seen for several years that cprporations are changing their model of operation, for one, more outsourcing. This is how many of people have become self-employed – doing this outsourcesed work.

    Another way that is going strong is the network marketing industry – growing right now at a fast rate! There are always opportunities available when things appear to be down, one must usually change their perspective to find them. We normally stay in our existing mindset, wanting things to remain the same – but they don't.

    Change is here moving along rapidly, the question is, who jumps in first? I have found a way to provide something people are craving personally and which can provide a good income for them, so business is good at seethewayforward.
    There is not one thing good for everyone, you must be pro-active and research.

    The seats at the front of the plane are still full, money has not disappeared, it's just moved – it's our job to find where it's flowing.

    January 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  15. Nick Nichols

    If it was easy then everybody would do it. Consider getting a business partner. I actually work part time and do my graphic design part time.

    January 9, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  16. Leo

    It sounds good to me if somebody gave me the right idea how to do my own business so that I can help those people need a job.

    January 9, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  17. Karen

    I was disappointed the link was to an article from 2006. It had some information that was basic startup 101, but none of this addresses the current financial situation. I started a service business in December, within 2 weeks have set up 3 accounts generating income. The biggest problem is I have been out of work for over a year, my credit is trashed and any money I am making is going into equipment & set up expenses. How do new businesses like mine afford advertising, marketing, etc? I am sure I could generated alot more business if I could get the word out about my product, but I can't afford to pay someone for these services. Any suggestions?

    January 9, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  18. Ira D Jinkins Sr

    I have some business ideas, however, My problem is getting the financing. Because of my negative credit report I am having a problem with trying to convince a bank or credit union to take a chance on me. I am receiving a VA Pension, and I am just surviving. I also can not qualify for a consolidated or personal loan to pay off and rebuild my credit. It is worse than being on a tread mill. The cycle of, well, how can I rebuild my credit, if I can not qualify for a loan to pay off my debt or get financing for my business ideals.

    January 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  19. roundtuit

    The best ideas come from us everyday folks. But need to find some believers with thick wallets willing to invest in us. Thanks for putting it out there though I certainly do hope benevolent companies will be watching.

    January 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  20. Eric

    Meredith – Thats a limiting belief.... What is really holding you back?

    January 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  21. Matt Shorty Wells

    There's an abundance of opportunity for the average person to start a home based business without the need for large amounts of startup capital.

    One particular business model is called Direct Sales or Network Marketing. It's a real, viable business model perfectly suited for the average person to take control of their lives and become less dependent in the new economy.

    Not here to spam a particular program, just to let you know that there is a better way. Network Marketing… Look into it.

    January 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  22. albert tilson

    Im semi-retired truckdriver whos very tired of the road.I still work 2-3 days a week to supplement income.I've been interested in legitimate home assymbly or woodcraft.(i have a nice 26 by 28 shop) any ideas ?

    January 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  23. albert tilson

    Help with legitimate home assy ?

    January 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  24. Doug

    I have a food product that we been working on for years. We had it as a dry product and due to the shelf life and had to be refridgerated. We took our product to a food science lab and coverted it to a dry product. As a wet product, we had at many shows and sampled it to hundreds of people, it went over great. We have it at a printer to see about how to print and package it. I lost my job Aug. 07 and can't find a job. My wife was on the Million Dollar Idea show and came in 6th out of 64 products. the show was great.

    January 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  25. Linda Hark

    After a career ending injury for my husband resulting in his being out of work for the last 4 years and struggling to live on my income alone, he and I are in the final stages of creating our mobile wood fired pizza oven catering business. We can also build a wood fired pizza oven at your home. We are in Northern California if you are interested. No website yet, working on it this weekend. You can find me on facebook Linda Kingsbury Hark and be sure to mention this article so I know who you are. Wish us luck.

    January 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  26. Ralph

    I agree with the comments of starting a Direct Sales Marketing business or Network Marketing. This is definitely a viable way of having a business with a start up cost less than 500.00. This will enable you not to add to your current overhead budget. Do your homework on these businesses on internet and you can become a star right from home. The internet has really escalated the home based busness industry combined with Social Marketing sites. I wish each of you the best of luck.

    January 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  27. John Moreno

    I agree with Oirish if it is si easy why 95% of new business get out in the first year, and I am not the exception I try the new phone communications system SIP not VOIP and here I am, looking for a new challenge and been positive about the future. And is funny because we follow all the steps recommended by the "experts", but you have to face unexpected situations in the startup of the business and when you finally have enough answers to keep going, you find out that you are out of money; that ths SBA provide support for business two years old but the worst part, that you need to go with a regular financial institution that is not interested in lending because you simply don't have money to guaranteed your loan .
    This is an entrepreneurs time but there is a big difference between a dreamer and an entrepreneur.
    Thanks to all for your comments.

    January 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  28. Ralph

    Hello Egichomo,
    There are home based businesses in Kenya as well. Its a little different set up than US, but you have the same type of opportunity to start a business and become successful in Kenya. The start up costs may vary , but you have an opportunity to build a global business right from Kenya using the internet. Let me know if I can assist in any way.

    January 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  29. John O'Leary

    Many folks on this blog have requested help and this could be just the way to go.I am the CEO of a group that has helped more than a 3000 individuals start their own businesses in the last 9 months and virtually all are succeeding beyond their expectations with our organizations help.We specialize in a concept called microfinance.
    In the US, we make loans to very small businesses. Banks
    normally feel these are not worth the risk.The majority of these startups are in profit within the first month using our method. Many of the startups we fund are home based. They succeed because they don't take on huge leases, large inventory or extra employees. Feel free to email me for further information.

    January 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  30. AB

    Although its nice to give some positive input in this horrible economy to give people something to dream of, I cannot understand why someone would mislead people into believing this is a time to start a business? Existing business owners, from small ones to even hedge funders I have talked to are going through terrible times. The rich have told me they are thinking of taking leave for awhile until the economy turns, and small businesses are folding not having enough cash to sustain this slow economy which has been dreadful for over a year now. I am an seasoned small business owner but the economy has almost put me on the street when 80% of my clients have folded, and all of my competitors are folding one by one too. The only one who may benefit to some extent is the last guy standing as he wont have any competitors left!

    For people to be encouraged to use what little money they have to start a business that has a struggling chance to survive in this climate, is a cruel suggestion. Even in a strong economy, starting a company from scratch is no joke and can take a year to turn profitable. Getting a loan for sufficient amounts you really need for start-up can be extremely difficult, but now its almost impossible.

    January 10, 2010 at 12:23 am |
  31. ashley-weightlosscoach

    Now is a great time to set up a business especially on the Internet. You guys should read Friedman's book 'The Earth is Flat' and it shows you how the economic opportunities are going global.
    weight loss goals

    January 10, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  32. Steve

    I am looking at a network marketing opportunity. It is with a company called Primerica. Is this a viable option for someone who has never had a business before? Any advice?

    January 10, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  33. J Michael

    Well that's one person's opinion. I did not see or hear any supporting evidence from Ms. Phelps.

    "Maybe you should you try to be an entrepeneur..." Get Real. An Entrepeneur needs to have a broad set of skills, strong support network and a very disciplined mindset. You can't just decide to be an entrepeneur because you can't find a job.

    Charlotte Phelps' is taking a backward facing view and broadly applying her opinion in projecting it into the future. By far the majority of small businesses and entrepeneurs fail at least once. "The Government is making more credit available..." What country (or country) is she living on?

    Take a risk... maybe. Become an entrepeneur... if you have the skills and have a product... maybe. Blindly stuble along and magically "become a leader of tomorrow..." only if you have the skills, talent and drive.

    January 10, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  34. Michelangelo

    I agree,
    It's Not Pretty Out There...

    The economy is spiraling. Unemployment is at a tear-inducing high. Grandparents are moving in with their kids. Grandkids are moving back home. Babies wishing they could crawl back inside the womb. Yes, American families are a tight bunch again- Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. College graduates have no hope. And jobs are laying off faster than corporations can outsource their help. In fact, take any hundred people at the start of their working careers and follow them for 40 years until they reach retirement age, and here's what you'll find, according to the Social Security Administration: Only 1 will be wealthy; 4 will be financially secure; 5 will continue working, not because they want to but because they have to; 36 will be dead; and 54 will be flat broke– depending on their meager Social Security checks, relatives, friends, even charity for a minimum standard of living. 5% successful, 95% unsuccessful. Interesting... Remember, only 5% finish reading this comment!

    January 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  35. Pete

    Don't let your circumstances direct what you do in life.

    January 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  36. shelly purdy

    This is the most exciting time in history to create and develop ideas. I am rebranding my jewellery business in an entirely new way that has so much more potential than it had before. Take a look at for the old me or purdyshelly on facebook for new!

    January 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  37. Leesa Amick

    Network marketing is indeed a great way to leverage people, not your time, to make income. I know of a terrific, legitimate, debt-free Company,
    that puts Representatives first! Just e-mail me.

    January 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  38. Bill

    I am doing it and it's very rewarding. I am not sure how it will turn out but enjoying the process and experience. That's something that you will have with you even if the business fails and it's a huge asset for hiring companies. Have to plug my company. Take a look at

    January 10, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  39. Gordy Doggett

    No doubt about it now is the time to be an entrepeneur. The opportunities are out there!

    January 12, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  40. jbledsoejr

    Thanks CNN! It's been known for years by many that there are BETTER ways to earn income...starting a business is definitely the best way in my opinion. Reading & scanning through many of the comments I've noticed that there are some ideas which limit or prevent people from believing they can do it themselves. That's unfortunate.

    I say that if you are unsatisfied with your (personal) current economic state then do something to change it...on the bright side if you don't, at least you already know what the next 20 years of your financial life will look are more than likely living it now.

    January 12, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  41. Jim

    Interesting fact, folks.....the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got. You have to make the decision to make a change in your life. Not having money, time, a good idea, etc simply succumbing to fear. 2010 is going to be the year that changes peoples lives, for better for for worse. You can either look at it as a year of opportunity or a year of sticking your head in the sand and hoping to come out OK when it's all over. Fact is, the decision is yours. Personally, I'm choosing entrepeneurism!

    January 12, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  42. Darby

    I'm with you Jim. I don't plan to stick my head in the sand and hope that I come out ok at the end of 2010. My wife and I have joined a network marketing group with a company that has been in business for only 5 years, has only 7 products and has already done 1 billion dollars in business in 3 1/2 years. I believe that by this time 3 years from now, I will be able to retire with an income that will allow me to have all my debts paid and live a debt free life of freedom, health, and happiness.

    January 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  43. Martin Moreau


    I appreciate your comments and frustrations. There is actually a very good business model out there where average people can make 6 to seven figure incomes with very little investment. Under a thousand dollars in most cases, sometimes under $100. It has been around for almost 100 years....

    January 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  44. Phil Yates

    This is a very interesting discussion as I have been talking with many people and saying just this , follow the disgracefull way we are all left to pick up the peaces after the higher powers and banks and governments let us down with our finances ,now is a great time to take control of our own destiny and future finances, be rewarded for your own efforts and not penalized for the short falls of people who you have no connection or afinity with.
    I have made my start already with maxplusgxl and all is going to plan.
    The Globe is my market and the whole world is open to me due to technology .
    Follow me on twitter as maxplusgxl

    Best Regards Phil Yates .not
    Bill Gates yet but sounds the same

    January 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  45. Jim

    Darby...that is simply fantastic. Good for you guys! It is the people like yourself that will change the world by becoming leaders. I currently own an Unfranchise business with a product brokerage and internet marketing company. The possibilities to do great things just keep poppin up all around us. My passion is to enlighten people and change people's thinking to finally realize they there is a BETTER way to live than working for 45 years living paycheck to paycheck. All the money in the world doesn't come close to teaching and helping one of my fellow entrepreneurs develop into a leader and completely transform their life. It is a feeling that is like no other in the entire world.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  46. Star Lee Ladin

    I totally believe this to be true.... I have been a mom-preneur since 2002 making 6 figures and would never go back to a job working for someone else.

    It is common sense when you think about it. Everything is less expensive in a down economy. Right now; labor, materials, services all or "soft". not to mention, the cream of the crop pickings for wonderful talent is looking to contribute their talents to the world. Great time for joint ventures or teaming up.

    Opportunity is everywhere if you are looking closely. 2009 was my most profitable year to date as a business owner. People are looking for experience and learning. If you do either of these fairly well and solve a problem for your market you will be will on your way to success

    I am also starting another venture right now and it is going gangbusters. I plan 2010 will be my most profitable year.

    CNN thanks for sharing and spreading the good news. People need more answers and hope right now.

    Thank you Kindly,
    Star Lee Ladin

    January 14, 2010 at 8:13 am |